Pakistan says Iran launched deadly air strike on its territory, killing two children

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Pakistan said Wednesday that Iran carried out an air strike on its territory that killed two children, after Tehran launched attacks in Iraq and Syria against what it called “anti-Iranian terrorist groups”.

Pakistan denounced the strike, near the nations’ shared border late on Tuesday, as “completely unacceptable”, saying it was unprovoked.

Iran offered no immediate official comment but its state-run Nour News agency said the attack destroyed the Pakistan headquarters of the jihadist group Jaish al-Adl (Army of Justice).

Formed in 2012, Jaish al-Adl is blacklisted by Iran as a terrorist group and has carried out several attacks on Iranian soil in recent years.

The strike came after Iran launched missile attacks on “spy headquarters” and “terrorist” targets in Syria, and in Iraq.

The Iranian strikes add to multiple crises across the Middle East, with Israel waging a war against Hamas in Gaza and pro-Palestinian Huthi rebels in Yemen attacking commercial vessels in the Red Sea.

Pakistan’s official statement did not say where the strike took place, but Pakistani media said it was near Panjgur in southwest Balochistan province, where the two countries share a sparsely populated border of nearly 1,000 kilometers (620 miles).

Hours before the strike, Pakistan’s caretaker Prime Minister Anwar-ul-Haq Kakar had met Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

“This violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty is completely unacceptable and can have serious consequences,” Pakistan’s foreign ministry said in a statement.

It said the strike “resulted in death of two innocent children while injuring three girls”.

 Diplomat summoned 

Pakistan said it summoned Tehran’s top diplomat in Islamabad to protest at the “unprovoked violation of its airspace”.

Late Tuesday, Iran’s Nour News agency posted on X: “Minutes ago, two important headquarters of the so called Jaish-ul-Adl terrorist group was targeted in Pakistan”.

“These headquarters were destroyed by rockets and drones.”

The group claimed responsibility for an attack in December on a police station in Rask that killed at least 11 Iranian police officers.

The United States has also labelled Jaish al-Adl a terrorist organisation, saying the group “primarily targets Iranian security personnel” but also government officials and civilians with assassinations, kidnappings, and suicide bombings.

Tehran and Islamabad frequently accuse each other of allowing militants to operate from the other’s territory to launch attacks, but it is rare that official forces on either side engage.

“It is even more concerning that this illegal act has taken place despite the existence of several channels of communication between Pakistan and Iran,” Pakistan’s foreign ministry said.

“Pakistan has always said terrorism is a common threat to all countries in the region that requires coordinated action.

“Such unilateral acts are not in conformity with good neighbourly relations and can seriously undermine bilateral trust and confidence.”

Iraq recalled its ambassador from Iran on Tuesday, condemning as a “clear act of aggression” after deadly missile strikes.

Iraq challenged Iran’s claim that the strikes targeted Israel’s intelligence services in response to recent Israeli assassinations of Iranian and pro-Iranian commanders.

It said it would lodge a complaint with the U.N. Security Council over the Iranian “attack on its sovereignty”.

Iran defended its missile strikes in Iraq and Syria, saying they were a “targeted operation” and “just punishment” against those who breach the Islamic republic’s security.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said they had destroyed the “Zionist regime’s spy headquarters in the Kurdistan region of Iraq”.

Iran has made support for the Palestinian cause a centrepiece of its foreign policy since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

It supports Hamas and hailed its Oct. 7 attacks on Israel as a “success” while denying any direct involvement.

Regional tensions have spiked since, drawing in Iran-backed armed groups in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria and Yemen.

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